'Digital will be Key for OOH in future'

Conventional OOH coupled with smart use of digital and mobile can enhance brand experience, says Harjeet Singh Chhabra, Chief Marketing Officer, Adlabs Entertainment Limited

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: Oct 9, 2014 7:49 AM
'Digital will be Key for OOH in future'

Harjeet Singh Chhabra heads the marketing division of Adlabs Entertainment Limited as Chief Marketing Officer. Chhabra comes with over 15 years of experience in the marketing domain across sectors such as consumer electronics, media and entertainment. Prior to joining Adlabs, Chhabra held the position of Senior Vice President (Marketing) with Sab TV. 

In conversation with exchange4media, he speaks about how outdoor advertising can be effectively used for promotions and marketing. Excerpts.

When it comes to content in outdoor campaigns, what are the prime things you look at?

The campaign has to be larger than life and loud, speaking for itself, thereby building a positive imagery and recall for the brand. The visuals need to be extremely impactful and should build an immediate connect with the audience in just 2-3 seconds of viewing the same. Another very important aspect of a powerful campaign is effective selection and placement of ads at primary locations to capture maximum eyeballs.

What percentage of your marketing spends is allocated to OOH?

The percentage actually varies from business to business. Our product is consumed in an out of home environment, people need to move out of their houses and visit our parks for a memorable experience. So in our kind of business, the spends on OOH are proportionately higher as we are talking to a relatable audience, the kind of people who enjoy being out, enjoy a good adventure, love time away from the pace of the city, who go out on a drive not just to work and back, but with family and friends as well. OOH helps us create a must experience visual for our target audience which encourages them to visit us, it is also an excellent tool for generating word of mouth about our brand offerings.

The industry is largely labelled as unstructured. Where does outdoor feature in your media plans?

Yes, it is true; the industry is quite a mix actually. There are agencies and then there are site owners. But it is important for a business like ours to use OOH aggressively in our media plans, and use it to its maximum potential.

Beyond innovation, do you think smart planning should be the ground rule while designing an outdoor campaign?

While planning any outdoor campaign, smart planning is extremely necessary to ensure the visibility of the campaign by keeping the costs minimal. As a medium OOH allows you to make geography specific plan. A plan can be made to target certain pockets of the city in a more aggressive way. One also needs to plan basis the consumer behaviour and traffic flow in each city. These minor tweaks can give that added edge to your campaign.

What are the changes needed in the outdoor industry to retain and attract more brands towards it?

First and foremost, the outdoor industry needs better monitoring. Transparency of pricing is the other thing that needs change in the industry.

When it comes to hoarding sizes, does big always equate to better?

Not necessarily. As I said before, if your campaign can speak for itself with the help of some striking visuals, good placement, correct eye level, angle, duration of visibility, the traffic situation, etc. the size will not really affect the final impact of the hoarding. It really does not matter how big it is when shown to the public, as the image has to be created largely in the minds of people. Size for sure helps you get noticed but it's the communication that determines whether people engage with your media or not.

How do you leverage emerging media like Digital OOH, RFID, ambient OOH, etc. as part of the overall strategy?

Our strategy involves the use of all of these media and leveraging them to their maximum so that it helps in re-engineering word of mouth for our brand, thus resulting in an impactful campaign.

The outdoor industry doesn’t have a common currency. As a marketer, how much does this worry you?

Measurability and transparency is a major concern area, which needs to be looked into.

What are the key elements that you would want to see incorporated in an outdoor campaign?

Digital can make a huge difference to the OOH industry in the times to come. Over the last two to three years, a huge traction is building up in this segment. The definition of OOH is changing and getting redefined. In the years to come, the support of digital space will be the key to OOH medium.  Conventional OOH coupled with smart use of digital and mobile can really up the engagement levels and takes the brand experience to a different level.

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